Heartburn, also called acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when acidic stomach fluid backs up into the esophagus. It is very common to deal with heartburn during pregnancy and unfortunately it typically gets worse as pregnancy progresses.
At the Women’s Clinic of Johnson County, we’re dedicated to supporting women throughout their lives. That includes helping reduce discomfort during pregnancy when possible. Patricia Arnold, one of our Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners, put together this advice on heartburn during pregnancy and how to alleviate it.
In most people, heartburn goes away when your baby is born. Symptoms of heartburn include:
- Burning in the chest or throat
- Trouble swallowing
- Sore throat
- Sometimes a cough
Common triggers for heartburn include coffee, carbonated beverages, citrus food, chocolate, and fatty foods. To improve your symptoms, avoid lying down within 3 hours after eating, avoid eating within 3 hours of bedtime, and don’t wear tight-fitting clothing. Some people also raise the head of their bed at night or sleep with extra pillows to help minimize symptoms.
If your symptoms don’t respond to these lifestyle changes, there are medications that may help. First, try over the counter antacids according to packaging instructions. Avoid antacids containing sodium bicarbonate or magnesium trisilicate.
Talk to someone at your next appointment if you’re still experiencing symptoms after trying antacids to discuss other medications that are safe during pregnancy.